Their Animals Are Dead...These People Are Next

This crisis is being faced from the United States (predominantly in the Southwest) to the United Kingdom, to China, the Middle East, South America, and especially in Africa. In Kenya, this crisis has been something that passed crisis stage months ago. Yet, there does not seem to be the amount of outrage regarding the fact that these people are literally dying for lack of water. Water, a substance of life that is a HUMAN RIGHT. Water, the one resource NO ONE should ever have to be without in this world. To see areas like the Arctic melting (which is drowning polar bears) and then read about animals dying in the heat and drought of Kenya because of lack of water, it surely shows the imbalance of this world caused by man, and it is a human rights outrage.
Their animals are dead. These people are next

Drought is set to plunge East Africa into a famine after the rains failed. Tracy McVeigh reports from northern Turkana in Kenya where neither charities nor governments are prepared to save nomadic tribes from starvation

Sunday May 28, 2006
The Observer

Drought in Kenya.

In conference rooms and in academic papers, the experts call it 'pervasive pre-famine conditions'. In the village, squatting on his brick-sized wooden stool in the red dirt of east Africa, Lokuwam Lokitalauk calls it a death sentence. His curses ricochet round the quiet village and his glaucoma-misted eyes dart off, surveying the stick-like spectres of children drifting listlessly about. 'When I had my cows, I could afford three wives and I have 20 children,' he said. 'The drought has killed my herd. All my cattle have died of thirst but I still have the wives and children, and now I can't feed them. I should be out there with my cows grazing.' He waves a hand behind him to the crisp, cracked plains without turning his head: 'But, here I am, I am weak now; I'm waiting to die.'

And if the rains fail again later this year, he and his people face death. The ghost of famine hangs over the Turkana nomads of northern Kenya. The short rains failed last November and the long rains of April and May have arrived only as the occasional shower that just keeps the vicious thorn bushes and the few camels alive. The cows and sheep on which about 250,000 pastoral people rely for food and milk are now all dead. Over the whole drought-hit area, stretching into southern Ethiopia, southern Sudan and east into Somalia, people who spend their time moving with the weather from the valley-floor grazing sites to the springs in the hills have lost almost all their livestock. Animals are everything to these people - their food, their wealth, their insurance and their savings accounts. Eight million people in this dry triangle are hungry.

Herds of cattle hundreds strong have been wiped out, their skinny corpses not even any use as meat. The lucky families have a few thin goats left and spend most of their waking hours searching or digging for water to keep the spark of life in them. The children are malnourished and sick, their parents are weak and helpless. There are no old people. There is some grazing land still to the west in Uganda where the rain has fallen a little more, but the once-friendly tribes there have turned protective and attack anyone who attempts the long walk to the border.

Half an hour's drive from the village of Lopiding, where the old men sit in despairing solitude while the women queue for hours for a turn at the well that reluctantly squeezes out a bowlful of water from deep in the earth, two-year-old Lokaalei cries and cries. He has not eaten for two days. Lokaalei was orphaned in the last week of April. His young parents - Nakatorot and Ekal - were part of a group who had been digging for water. Some of the wells they dig with their bare hands have reached 40ft: that means 10 people standing from top to bottom passing up gourds of water from the shrinking water table.

The sides of these pits are just sand and brittle earth, so they collapse every now and again. Smothered by the very dryness of the land: this is a brutality beyond irony. Six people died in the accident that killed Lokaalei's parents and locals say about 35 others have died this way in the past month, but showers over the past few days have raised the water table and, for about four weeks at least, the pits will not need to be so deep. Lokaalei's aunt has taken him in, but he will only let one of his cousins, a six-year-old girl, anywhere near him. No one knows if he cries for his mother or because of the pain in his belly.

'His name, in Turkana, is the word for when the water is flowing,' says his aunt Kochele. 'The rains were working when he was born and he was a great hope for his mother and for all of us.' She has her own three children, but the Turkana look after their own fiercely. 'Whoever has something small they will share,' she said. 'If we had livestock, there would be milk for the children, but now they get up in the morning to scavenge for a few berries.' She burns wood to make charcoal and walks for many miles to sell it. But so do many of the other nomad women scattered around this wide plain. It is a buyers' market and she gets a handful of shillings for her load.

These people have nothing on their minds but water, their days centred on it. They are haunted by water. Food is almost a secondary issue. Sanitation a long-forgotten luxury. 'It drives us crazy to see when they are drinking stagnant water from a pool where their animals have also drunk,' said John Kener, a project officer for the charity Amref's clinic at Lopiding, the only health service for thousands of square miles. 'There is no boiling of the water they can find, they drink where the animals drink. Disease is rampant.'

More at the link.

Also see:
African Medical and Research Foundation
Yet, there are those who would say this is normal. Those who dismiss the climate crisis exacerbated by deforrestation and the greenhouse effect that is contributing to the droughts we see not only in Africa, but Northern China
South America
, Great Britain Mexico, and in our own country, there are those who think that because we live here, we are not responsible for the Lokaaleis of this world...And they would be wrong. DEAD wrong.

The global water crisis that is gripping our world today is leading to wars over water. It is leading to terrorism. Economic instability. Famine. Political unrest. Corporate privitization in the takeover of public land which in turn is serving the rich over the poor, making more Lokaalies in this world who will be left to die because they cannot pay for a life giving resource that should be theirs for FREE.

And this crisis is not something that just happened. For years people such as Dr. Vandana Shiva have been warning us about the signs of this crisis. Doctors and scientists have predicted that by 2025 (not so far away) that over one third of our world will be WITHOUT WATER. That means , NONE. Just how precious is water to you? Could you live in Kenya now in the heat of the midday sun, watching your herd fall on the dry patched red ground as your child cries for that life giving force that heals all with none to be found? To have to get down on your hands and knees scratching in the dirt as far down as you can, hoping you will reach water? Even enough for a handful? To have to get any water you can get from a poisoned feces ridden river after walking two+hours just to get there to collect it? And to then have to wonder if you will even make it back home alive?

Something must be done for these people, and it must be done now. And to facilitate that, we all must make as many people as we can aware of this water crisis in our world, and stand up to those who would take this resource and use it for their own economic gain at the expense of the Lokaalies who will die because they have none. This is the moral issue of our time, and our response to this crisis will surely show what we are made of.

In previous entries I noted links to sites that provide aid to countries suffering from water insecurity and scarcity. And while they are doing a good job in alleviating much suffering, this crisis is getting away from them as well. Again, should we not heed the warnings, we will pass the point of no return. Droughts are a direct repercussion of extreme climate change, and Africa is feeling those effects worse than any other continent.

So the logical lead in to this is, what can we do? Are we to simply sit and watch while more people in this world die because our politicians are too busy with their own needs to worry about it? Here are a couple of things you can do to hlep bring this issue out:

*Write, call, or fax your Congressional representatives and your Senators
and tell them that the global water crisis is something that needs our utmost attention. This is not only an environmental issue, it is a security issue and a health issue.

War also only exacerbates this crisis, and our current policies are not properly addressing this crucial situation that is also leading to war, famine, and political unrest. It is time in our Congress to see REAL legislation on this climate crisis! As Al Gore has stated as well, the science is in, and it is REAL. And it is killing people... That then means it is our MORAL DUTY to act.

*You can also write to the American Embasy in Nairobi, Kenya to express your outrage that this human rights abuse is not being addressed by the State Department. In reading the report from 2005 there was NO mention of the current water crisis facing Kenya, nor any attempts on the part of our State Dept. regarding any solutions to mitigate this crisis. Not In Rice's statement regarding their 2005 report, nor in the report of Ambassador Bellamy. We need to know why. It is all well and good to throw around phrases like, "freedom and Democracy," but quite another to see it in action.

*Support an organization such as Water Partners International that is doing all it can with the resources it has to alleviate the suffering of those in this world who go without this precious resource every day, even thought there is enough water to sustain us all.

*And yes, be more aware of your own usage and become aware of where your water comes from. It DOES make a difference.

And above all, keep hope. We CAN help these people if we really put our minds and hearts together, and continue to push our leaders. It is no longer a question of do they have the will. This is something that they must do for all of the Lokaaleis of this world NOW who have no one else to speak for them.

Thank you.